Davidson claims SNP’s named person plan could end in tragedy
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has attacked the flagship Nationalist proposal of appointing a state-sanctioned ‘named person’ for every under-18-year-old.
Announcing a fresh bid by the Tories to stop the measure, which was part of a law that Holyrood has already passed, Davidson warned that it could lead to overstretched public employees missing signs of abuse, the Scotsman reports.
She denounced the imposition of state snoopers as an intrusion on family life, and warned that needlessly spreading resources that should be targeting the vulnerable would put children at risk.
In other news, the Herald carries the story that Davidson has described ISIS has an “existential threat” to the British way of life ahead of the Government’s vote on Syria.
Welsh Conservatives attack Labour’s ‘urban empire’
Tories have claimed that relations between rural Wales and the Welsh Government, run by urban-dominated Labour, have never been lower.
According to Wales Online Russell George, the shadow rural affair spokesman, has accused Carwyn Jones’ administration of being “government by the city, for the city”.
Only one full member of the Welsh Cabinet represents a rural constituency.
Speaking ahead of next May’s Assembly elections George, a Montgomeryshire AM, set out Conservative plans to boost rural broadband and promote Welsh agricultural produce.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have claimed that they, and not the Tories, are the true party for Welsh entrepreneurs.
Hoey addresses TUV conference
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall and outspoken Unionist, has spoken at the conference of the Traditional Unionist Voice, a hard-line pro-Union party in Northern Ireland.
Whilst not agreeing with Jim Allister, the TUV leader, on everything Hoey said she was “genuinely pleased” to be invited to speak to urge the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to the News Letter.
After her speech the party welcomed its newest recruit Henry Reilly, formerly a rising star of Ulster’s UKIP branch and tipped to have a shot of winning a seat for the People’s Army in South Down in next May’s Assembly elections.
Did SNP know of McGarry concerns before the election?
Last week the SNP withdrew the whip from a second MP when Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East, faced a police probe over more than £30,000 in missing donations from the referendum campaign group Women for Independence (WfI).
But according to the Daily Record, WfI blocked her access to the organisation’s finances three months before she was elected – that’s nine months ago.
It also reports that McGarry, in a claimed attempt to sort out the so-called “shambles” handed them a four-figure sum before the organisation called the police.
Seven members of the WfI committee are SNP candidates in May’s Scottish elections, and the Herald relates that the Nationalists knew of concerns about their MP weeks before they became public.
SDLP attack Sinn Fein over welfare retreat
Colum Eastwood, the newly elected leader of Northern Ireland’s soft-nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), has attacked his Republican rivals for backing down on welfare.
The Belfast Telegraph reports him as saying that Sinn Fein should be “ashamed” for backing down, and remarking that it was the first instance of Republicans handing powers back to the British Government.
Sinn Fein have brought devolved government in the province to a standstill for more than two years in an attempt to block the introduction of the Coalition’s welfare reforms, incurring hundreds of millions in Treasury fines.
Arlene Foster, the Treasury Minister, has warned of “hard choices” as the Assembly faces real-terms cuts of five per cent to departmental budgets.
Pressure on SNP justice secretary over police spying claims
Michael Matheson, the Scottish Government’s Justice Secretary, is under pressure to reveal how much the SNP administration knew about the country’s latest police spying scandal.
According to the Scotsman, Police Scotland – the country’s single police force – broke the law when it monitored ex-officers. A review had previously been called over fears the force was “spying on journalists”.
Opposition MSPs are demanding that Matheson make a statement setting out what he knew.
Stormont braces for rush of Executive legislation
The Northern Ireland Assembly is preparing for a “torrent” of legislation, according to the News Letter, as the province’s devolved government attempts to rush through a legislative backlock.
Since 2007 Stormont has been criticised for a relatively low volume of legislation, due in part to deadlock between Unionist and Nationalist MLAs and structures designed to require cross-communal consent.
This looks set to change as the Assembly uses the twelve weeks it has left sitting before dissolution to try to clear the huge business backlog created by the years-long standoff with Sinn Fein over welfare and a more recent Unionst walk-out over the IRA.